“The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.”

Hanna Rion

Summer Greetings

We hope you are all healthy and finding bits of time to savor summer garden splendors, whether that is harvesting the first ripe tomato, enjoying bright bursting blossoms, or marveling at pollinators hard at work. What do you enjoy most about summer in a garden?

Although our in-person Master Gardener activities are suspended, we appreciate that we have been able to stay connected via online webinars and our Master Gardener Hangout. We value our metro area Master Gardener community and we look forward to seeing you online in the weeks ahead!

Garden Webinar Series

Our webinar series continues throughout the summer with a variety of horticultural topics, on the following Fridays at 1PM.

July 10 – Therapeutic Horticulture, Gardening for Healthy Living, with Scott Hoffman, Therapeutic Garden Program Coordinator, Whole Health, VA Portland Health Care System.  For details and to register, go to https://beav.es/4F4

July 17 – Community Science and the Mason Bee, with Ron Spendal, metro area, OSU Extension Master Gardener.  For details and to register, go to https://beav.es/4Fo


Save the Date!

Save the date for the following August and September webinars, Friday’s at 1PM.  Registration links to come.

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District Rain Garden

August 7 – Invasive Weeds, with the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District

August 14 – Conserving Water around the Landscape, with the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District

August 28 – Introduction to Naturescaping & Native Plants for Wildlife, with the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District

September 11 – Introduction to Rain Gardens/Storm Water Management, with the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District

Webinar Recordings

Do you have a schedule conflict with an upcoming webinar?  Don’t despair.  We are posting recordings of our webinars a few days following the presentation.

Check out past webinars here:

Racial and Social Justice: responding to critical comments

Last month we shared a message from Statewide Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Gail Langellotto, and Master Gardener Outreach Coordinator, LeAnn Locher regarding the OSU Master Gardener Program’s commitment to racial justice. Since then, both our metro area program and the state-wide Master Gardener Program have received overwhelmingly positive feedback and support. It is encouraging and heartening to receive such words of support and to learn of fellow Master Gardeners’ commitment to creating a inclusive Master Gardener community.

If you speak out and stand up for racial and social justice within the Master Gardener Program and are criticized how do you respond? In Gail’s latest blog post she gives guidance on how to respond to criticism. https://beav.es/4FJ

Master Gardener In-person Volunteer Activity Suspension

In the midst of the pandemic, and with OSU Extension Service’s commitment to keeping communities safe, suspension remains in effect for any in-person volunteer activities for OSU Master Gardeners.  This includes all Master Gardener clinics (phone, Farmers Markets, and special events), classes, workshops, demonstration gardens, parks, partner organizations, Speakers Guild presentations, fundraisers, and in-person meetings/lectures/speakers. 

As the State of Oregon lifts restrictions, around the state, OSU Extension is in the process of approving some restricted, limited, volunteer activities.  Approved activities will have requirements regarding safety protocol, which must be met.  As the University provides information and guidance regarding a resumption plan, we will provide updates.

Volunteering with Partner Organizations

Although some Partner organizations in the metro area may be resuming volunteer activities, at this point, in the metro area, Master Gardeners are not approved to participate and volunteer at any partner venues.  

We are deeply appreciative of those partner organizations who are clearly communicating the restrictions of the OSU Master Gardener Program.  We are keeping those organizations apprised of any changes to the University’s in-person volunteer policy and look forward to the day we can resume these valued partnerships.  We will alert all volunteers as restrictions are lifted.

OSU Master Gardener icon

With the cancellation of volunteer activities, and knowing the many challenges people are facing, we are waiving volunteer requirements for 2020.  We ask metro area Master Gardeners to report any volunteer hours served this year and their continuing education hours, by September 30, 2020.

We encourage Master Gardeners to take advantage of the many online continuing education opportunities.  Updates will be sent via email and/or posted in this monthly newsletter.

Master Gardener Hangout


Are you looking to connect with other Master Gardeners in an informal, online setting?  Join our Friday, Master Gardener Hangouts.  This is a forum to talk all things gardening. 

Past Master Gardener Hangouts have been fun.  Our guest speakers have joined-in to answer additional questions. MGs have swapped tips and tricks for growing vegetables, dealing with weeds, or trellising plants. 

You can connect via phone or internet. Look for an email from Marcia McIntyre, which will be sent on Friday afternoons as that week’s webinar is ending, with a link to join the ‘Master Gardener Hangout’.

Online Educational Opportunities

A wide-variety of educational webinars are available to view from other Master Gardener and Extension programs across the state, plus from our partners at Metro. Check them out.


Master Gardener Advanced Training webinars continue on July 16, 10am with Solve Pest Problems: A New Resource for Master Gardeners and the Public. Join Weston Miller, and learn about the exciting developments for the Solve Pest Problems website.
Pre-register here: https://learn.extension.org/events/3762

Gardening Will Save the World webinar series, sponsored by the Hood River Co. Master Gardeners. July 15, Pesticide Safety, presented by Brooke Edmunds, Community Horticulture, Master Gardeners Linn and Benton Counties To register, go to https://beav.es/4rt

Tree School Online
OSU Extension Clackamas Co. Tree School continues to offer weekly online webinars through July 28. Look for classes designated for Master Gardener continuing education credit. For more information go to https://beav.es/4Hn

Fall Gardening

Join a Metro Natural Gardening Educator for a webinar on growing fall vegetables and landscaping tasks and tips for the coming fall season. Wednesday, July 29, 3PM to 4:30PM. Learn helpful tips for growing in containers, planning for fall and winter harvests, starting seeds, fertilizing and more!

Be wildlife-conscious with your fall gardening by protecting over-wintering habitat! Plan for fall planting of native trees, shrubs and perennials for enduring garden interest. Maintain a healthy lawn you can enjoy without the use of toxic chemicals. Click here to register.

A subsequent webinar on the same topic in Spanish will be offered upon request.

Our July and August Garden Checklist

Tips on summer watering, dealing with pesky wasps, plus apple care in our July and August Garden Checklist videos.

Natter’s Notes

Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

Once again, herbicide damage rears its ugliness in home vegetable gardens. A recent new release from the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) reported that clopyralid has been detected in composted manure (referred to as herbicide carryover) from McFarland’s and Deans Innovations. (See news report: https://www.einpresswire.com/article/519298724/oda-discovers-contaminated-soil-and-compost-after-receiving-complaints)

Then, too, it’s important for gardeners to avoid inadvertent drift from glyphosate (in RoundUp products) and 2,4-D (a broad-leaf herbicide).  

Potato plant with leaves showing yellowing from herbicide drift damage.
Fig 1 – Glyphosate drift during the growing season. Glyphosate damage to plants (here, potato) during the growing season affects the newest cells first, this because glyphosate moves with the sugars. Look for yellowing of the new tip growth and at the base of expanding leaves. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in RoundUp and certain other herbicides. (Client image; 2020-06)  2020-06 client https://ask.extension.org/expert/questions/646290

Herbicide carryover is sneaky, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Some gardeners who add composted manure to their soil will be rudely surprised when they see their damaged vegetables. Here’s the deal: Several active ingredients in commercial products (clopyralid and aminopyralid) persist for a year if not actively composted during that time. It’s currently illegal to use such products in home gardens and landscapes. Their main use is agricultural, on grains and pastures. The rude encounter that may confront gardeners most often occurs from free manures shared by farmers who are unaware of what their pest companies applied to their pastures and grain fields.  The herbicide on the grains passes through the gut and exits intact even while the livestock are unaffected. Thus, no one suspects mayhem is possible. (Images-

The most sensitive plants

Of all the plants you might grow, tomatoes and grapes are super-sensitive to just a whiff of errant herbicide. Then, too people want to know if they can safely eat the produce. Well, it’s like this: That’s not something the producer tests for; most likely they’ll suggest you discard it.

Rules to garden by

Inadvertent herbicide damage from any cause may be fatal or temporary. Drift during application is another possibility both during fall clean-up and/or weed-killing forays during the growing season.

A.) The best guideline for managing weeds: Kill ‘em while they’re young. Make it your rule to pull it when you see it. In other words, don’t tell yourself you’ll get it later. (Don’t bother asking why I say that.)

B.) Remove it before it blooms. (Seeds are the next developmental stage!)

C.) Don’t contribute to the abundant Soil Seed Bank. If buds or flowers are present, don’t throw it down with the thought “I’ll pick it up later.”

Test composted manure before you apply it

Do a simple bioassay (in several pots) before the compost is added to the garden. Or, if you’ve already added it, do the bioassay in the garden plot before you plant.  (Easy instructions are at  http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/aminopyralid/bioassay.html

Responsible use of herbicides avoids off-target damage

Forsythia plant showing narrow, stringy growth which is an indication of herbicide damage.
Fig 2 – Glyphosate, applied during the prior fall, usually as a clean-up spray. Sub-lethal doses of glyphosate are easily delivered to off-target plants via a light breeze and/or spray turbulence. Look for clusters of narrow (stringy) growth, such as here on forsythia, sometimes called witches’ brooms, at the nodes during the spring growth surge. On roses, differentiate from similar-appearing rose rosette. (Client image; 2020-06) // https://ask.extension.org/expert/questions/651373

Responsible use of herbicides will avoid inadvertent damage to off-target plants.

1.) Follow all label directions, among them guidelines for personal protection.

2.) Never spray any pesticide(such as an herbicide or insecticide) if the temperature is, or will exceed, 80F that day.

3.) If you use herbicides, dedicate a sprayer for that purpose, marking it boldly to avoid accidents. In spite of a thorough cleaning of the sprayer and wand, a minute herbicide residue will damage ultra-sensitive plants, among them your tomatoes.

The Bottom Line: Be an aware gardener!


– “Gardeners often unaware of exposing tomatoes to herbicide” (http://www.caes.uga.edu/newswire/story.html?storyid=4451)

– Images of Herbicide carryover – http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/aminopyralid/images.html

– “Landscape Plant Problems,” (MISC0194; WSU) A book in all metro MG Offices. See the section titled “Common Herbicide Damage.”

By Margaret Bayne, OSU Extension Service Staff-retired, OSU Master Gardener

Cover of OSU publication 'Enhancing Urban Suburban Landscapes to Protect Pollinators, with a photo of a bumble bee gathering pollen from a white cosmo flower.

New publication: Enhancing Urban Suburban Landscapes to protect Pollinators. “The way we garden and manage the landscapes of the Northwest can promote the health of bees, butterflies, and other insects.  Homeowners, gardeners, landscape professionals and volunteer groups all can work to attract a wide range of pollinators to their properties.  This guide offers detailed plant lists, garden designs and advice on creating pollinator habitat.  Once plants are in the ground, learn to keep them healthy without exposing pollinating insects to pesticides that are toxic to them.” (Andony Melathopoulos, et all, OSU- EM 9289) https://bit.ly/30J8Tou

Nonnative, noninvasive woody species can enhance urban landscape biodiversity. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU via International Society of Arboriculture) https://bit.ly/3dYwkhE

New research illuminates nocturnal pollen transport network. “Moths may even help counterbalance pollination gaps left in the wake of other insect declines.” (Cara Giaimo, anthropocenemagazine.org) https://bit.ly/2XY5PmR

VIDEO:  The botanist stuck in the kitchen with peas- a short botany lesson. (Katherine A. Preston, via youtube.com) https://bit.ly/3cZr5wN

How the Pea Aphid decides to make wings or not.Wing development in females is environmentally controlled, but in males, an insertion on the sex chromosome appears to dictate whether the insects grow wings, according to a study.” (Vivian Callier, the-scientist.com) https://bit.ly/2UCiNET

WEBINAR: High magnification, low cost: macro garden photography on a budget. (Danae Wolfe, Ohio State U; via youtube.com) https://bit.ly/37pN66C

Honey locust tree with bark peeled away by squirrels.
Photo credit: Joe Boggs, OSU Extension

Squirrels debarking trees.  Recently a MG showed me some photos of a problem on a fruit tree. The damage looked awfully familiar to me since I have this same problem on my maple trees every spring.  (Joe Boggs, Ohio State U) https://bit.ly/2MSm0M3

Here’s how plants became meat eaters. “Carnivorous plants are the ‘most skillful green hunters on the planet.” (Diane Lincoln – Live Science.com) https://bit.ly/2XUlHH2

Pollen-deprived bumblebees may speed up plant blooming by biting leaves. “In a pollen shortage, bees can make tomatoes bloom early by nipping foliage.” (Susan Milius, sciencenews.org) https://bit.ly/3fvJPG3

Genetic analysis reveals the fascinating evolutionary origins of Catmint, AKA Catnip. (Max Planck Institute, scitechdaily.com) https://bit.ly/30DPfKW

The weed apocalypse. (Jim Downer, gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/37x6kHO

Bumblebees bite plants to make them flower early, surprising scientists. “How it actually works remains a mystery, but if replicated by humans, it could be a boon for agriculture.” (Virginia Morell, nationalgeographic.com) https://on.natgeo.com/2XYZCHs

Big, beautiful, and confusing: Deciphering the true hornets-including the “Murder Hornet.” (Leslie Mertz, Ph.D., entomologytoday.org) https://bit.ly/3hnHIWj

Flowers respond to pollinator sound within minutes by increasing nectar sugar concentration. (Marine Veits , onlinelibrary.wiley.com) https://bit.ly/37rAnkc

Earthy funk lures tiny creatures to eat and spread bacterial spores. “Master chemist soil bacteria can waft a scent appetizing to springtails.”(Susan Milius, sciencenews.org) https://bit.ly/2XY4QCY

Ribbon type fasciation of Sedum plant.
Ribbon type fasciation of Sedum.
OSU Plant Clinic image, 2008.

UPDATE INFO- 2020 PNW Plant Disease Management Handbook: “Well, a virus may have slowed us down but the 2020 version of the PNW Plant Disease Management Handbook is now fully online. Most of it has been there for many weeks now. A total of 28 new sections, another 98 sections that were rewritten and 20 new fungicides were added (and 7 removed) where needed throughout the book. A new section on “Fasciation” was added…” (PNW Disease Management, Facebook) Fasciation:  https://bit.ly/2UA6k4o

The Strange, Twisted Story Behind Seattle’s Blackberries. (Ann Dornfeld, NPR.org) https://n.pr/2Awucir